clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Study: Life expectancy in Buckhead is 20 years longer than English Avenue, Bankhead

New, 46 comments

Atlanta’s income inequality issues have kept some residents farther from healthy food and healthcare options

The Buckhead skyline features glassy blue buildings beneath a blue sky.
The skyline of Buckhead, Atlanta’s predominant hub of old and new wealth.
Paul Peterson

It comes as little surprise that where you live plays a role in how healthy you are, but a new study shows that just a few miles can make a signifiant difference in life expectancy—especially in Atlanta.

A person living in English Avenue, for instance, has a life expectancy of just under 64 years, whereas a Buckhead resident living in the Margaret Mitchell area is expected to live upwards of 87 years.

These statistics come from research jointly conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Association for Public Health Information Systems, as relayed recently by Reporter Newspapers.

Funded the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the research is described as the first of its kind. It analyzes life expectancy more locally than ever before, allowing people to look at statistics by U.S. Census tract—roughly the size of a typical neighborhood—rather than by county.

Nationally, the average life expectancy is about 79 years, with Georgia clocking in at 77.4 years.

The highest life expectancy rate in Georgia—logged at Vinings in Cobb County—is 87.6 years. Macon has the lowest, at 63.3 years.

The numbers are of course influenced by a multitude of factors, especially socioeconomic status, access to healthy food and healthcare, and safety.

With Atlanta holding the dubious title of national income inequality capital, the disparities in life expectancies tend to make more sense, as stark as they may be. (Eighteen percent of Atlanta households make at least $150,000 annually, while almost a quarter of the remaining population lives in poverty.)

For decades, underserved or impoverished Atlanta areas like English Avenue and Bankhead have struggled as food deserts riddled with drug and crime issues.

According to research by real estate company Trulia and the National Fair Housing Alliance, Atlantans’ access to healthcare can vary greatly by race: majority-white tracts have 25.3 healthcare providers for every 10,000 people, while majority-black tracts have just 9.8.

That’s not to say Atlanta isn’t working to bridge some of its damaging gaps.

At the beginning of the year, the city enacted new rules that require developers to earmark units for affordable housing when building residences near the Beltline or Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

And on Tuesday, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced the appointment of the city’s first chief housing officer, Terri Lee, according to Saporta Report.

With the help of Lee’s leadership, HouseATL—an extra-governmental task force—hopes to create or preserve more than 20,000 affordable housing units over the next 10 years.

As chief, Lee will review HouseATL’s recommended plans.

This story was updated on October 17, 2018 at 6:30 p.m. to say that HouseATL is not the new name of the Atlanta Housing Authority, but rather an extra-governmental task force.